Another winter storm is about to call the CSRA home, with ice being the primary threat.
A cold front is moving through the area today. A high pressure system over the Midwest will gradually force cold air back into Georgia-Carolina tonight and Tuesday. Meanwhile, the cold front will stall along the Gulf Coast and into northern Florida, where areas of low pressure are expected to develop. These low pressure systems will pull in moisture from the Gulf and Atlantic into Georgia-Carolina on top of the increasingly cold air at the surface.
So, what does all this mean for us? An ice storm is becoming increasingly likely, and could have similar impacts to the ice storm of January 2004 with widespread power outages.
A cold rain is expected to begin late this evening or shortly after midnight Tuesday morning. Temperatures will remain above freezing all day Tuesday, so the precipitation type will continue as rain through Tuesday evening, with only wet roads as a travel concern.
During the early morning hours of Wednesday, possibly as soon as 3 a.m., temperatures are expected to drop to near freezing and remain so all the way through Thursday morning around 10 a.m. This means that the precipitation will likely change over to freezing rain (rain that freezes once it reaches a surface such as the ground, car tops, trees, etc.). Freezing rain or rain will continue during the day Wednesday and into Wednesday night. Damaging ice accumulations of Â¼ inch to Â¾ inch are possible. Such ice accumulations will easily cause power outages, downed tree limbs and hazardous driving conditions.
A strong mid-level disturbance will move into Georgia and South Carolina from the west by late Wednesday night. This disturbance will strengthen the area of low pressure off the coast, providing additional upward motion just as the coldest air aloft begins to move over the CSRA. As a result, precipitation could change over to sleet or snow late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning with light to moderate snow accumulations possible. A dusting to 2 inches of snow seems reasonable at this point.
Finally, by 10 a.m. Thursday, temperatures are expected to warm above freezing and into the 40s during the afternoon, melting most of what may have accumulated prior to then. Other than possible lingering power outages, life in the CSRA should return to normal by Thursday afternoon.
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